Monday, August 31, 2009

From Pants To Scarf

We first saw this idea from Pearl Schell and thought it looked like a great way to recycle a pair of pants that had been outgrown. We were all set to make our own version of it, until the scarf took on a mind of it's own (as crafts tend to do).

We first took our pair of pants and cut up one leg into as long a rectangle as possible.

We did this on both sides of one leg so that we had two long rectangles. Then we sewed the ends of the two rectangles together to make one long piece of fabric.

Then using a complementary fabric, we lined the pant leg fabric.

This is when the scarf decided it wanted to be different from the original. Instead of leaving the ends square, we thought it would look better with pointed ends. We added a few embelishments (not sure why the flower looks crooked in the picture...) and top-stitched around the now finished scarf!

It may not look anything like the original, but we're happy with how it turned out. It just goes to show that you may want your project to turn out one way, but when it turns out differently it can still be great!
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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Summer Activities Challenge Wrap-Up

We have been so busy crafting these days that we have forgotten to post an update on our progress with the Summer Activities Challenge that is being offered by Now that summer's almost over, now seems as good a time as any!

We are happy to announce that we have completed the Challenge! As we've mentioned before, this means that we are now in the running for the grand prize of a Dell Latitude 2100 Netbook or one of 100 Lego Creator Mini Sets! But prizes aside, we had a great experience with this. It gave us great ideas for educational and fun things to do with the kids. We showed you a few projects that we enjoyed in an earlier post, but here are just a few more:

Plastic Cup Monster (or in this case, a "zombie")

Homemade Lava Lamp
Stained Glass Crayons
Even if you don't have enough time to finish the required 20 projects before the August 31st deadline, you should still check it out. There are countless activities for all ages. And having fun things to do with your kids is better than any prize you could win.
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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fabric-Covered Thumb Tacks

We love these! They are just the right finishing touch to our fabric-covered bulletin board. We first saw this idea on Daily-Craft and thought it was a brilliant project! Her tutorial is really easy to follow, with great step-by-step pictures. Basically, all you need is a button-covering kit (size 20), fabric, thumb tacks, pliers or scissors, and some hot glue.

First, cut your fabric into a circle about the size of a quarter (or just use the guide that comes with the kit). Then detach the little metal loops off of the backs of the buttons using your pliers or scissors. Following the instructions that come with your button kit, cover a button with the fabric, then put a dab of hot glue on the back and attach the thumb tack.

Ta-da! You now have a fabric-covered thumb tack!
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fabric-Covered Bulletin Board

Always in need of organization, we had been wanting a bulletin board to post messages for a while. We had seen a few out there and realized that it would be easy (not to mention cheap!) to make one ourselves. Unfortunately we didn't take step-by-step pictures because we pretty much made it up as we went along and weren't sure how it would turn out!

We got an inexpensive bulletin board and took off the frame. We then found two fabrics: a brown one to cover the board in and a multi-colored one to make a coordinating pocket. We sewed a simple pocket on the brown fabric, being careful to keep in mind where the frame would be once we finished. We then wrapped the brown fabric around the bulletin board, pulling it tight and securing it with hot glue. Next we sanded, primed, and painted the frame. Once that was dry, we reattached it using a staple gun. Super-easy and really quick! And we love the way it turned out!

But what about those adorable matching fabric-covered thumb tacks?? Stay tuned!!

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Healthy Breakfast Cookies

Yes you read right, healthy breakfast cookies! They are so easy and nutritious and of course delicious! We hope you and your family enjoy them!

The basic recipe:
  • 3 cups of oats
  • 2 large or 3 small ripe bananas
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon

Mash bananas in a large mixing bowl. Measure the oats into your blender. Pulse for a few seconds until they are mostly ground, but still some large pieces. Add oats, cinnamon and 1/4 c. of water to the bananas. Mix, and if you need to, add the other 1/4 c. of water so that you can mix all the ingredients. The dough should be thick. Your spoon should just about stand up in it. The ripe bananas make the cookies sweet, but if they are not ripe enough, you can add a tablespoon of brown sugar or honey.

Now you can get creative and add your own favorite treats to the cookies.

We like to add:

  • dried fruit (apricot or dried cranberries are our favorite!)
  • nuts
  • sunflower seeds
  • mini chocolate chips
  • coconuts

Preheat your oven now to 350 degrees and let the dough sit for 20 minutes so the oats can absorb the water. We like to prepare our cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Spoon the cookie dough onto the cookie sheet and press down with the back of your spoon until they are about a half an inch thick. They can be any size you would like. Smaller ones are great for treats and larger ones make great breakfast bars. They don't rise, so you can put them very close together on the cookie sheet. Cook the cookies for 20 minutes.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Down With Gift Wrap

After reading Eco-Craft by Susan Wasinger, the Homemade Mamas have decided to challenge ourselves and our readers to give up store bought wrapping paper. How wasteful to chop down trees for the sole purpose of covering a gift and then to be thrown out. Gift wrapping is such a great opportunity to reduce, reuse and recycle. Over the next few months we plan to start collecting our "new" earth friendly gift wrap.

Here are some of our ideas, please share your recycled gift wrap ideas with us.


  • children's art work
  • newspaper
  • maps
  • junk mail
  • mailing labels
  • decorate brown paper bags
  • cut up pretty shopping bags or use them as gift bags
  • sheet music
  • used gift wrap (our grandma could open a package without a single tear)
  • reuse gift bags


Make your wrapping part of your gift. Cloth shopping bags, baby blankets, bath and kitchen towel, colanders, laundry baskets, flowerpots, mugs, table cloths all make great "wrapping paper and gift baskets".

Don't forget your trimmings. Forget plastic ribbons. Get creative! Make paper ribbons, cloth ribbons, twine or other ties that can be reused. Tie on pretty flowers, leaves, bottle tops, cinnamon sticks, candy canes, pretty stamps from your mail.

We hope you will take up this challenge with us. We can't wait to hear your great earth friendly gift wrap ideas - send pictures too!

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Wood Polish

Here is a super easy recipe for a natural wood polish. It works so well and we don't worry about what chemicals we are breathing in. It is so safe that the kids can help with the cleaning and in a pinch, it would be great on a salad. Gotta love it!

The Recipe

Simply mix equal parts white vinegar with olive oil (we like to use light oil) in a small spray bottle. Shake well before using. Spray a small amount on furniture and wipe with a clean dry towel. A little goes a long way!
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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Garden Stepping Stones

Making your own stepping stones is easy and fun and can be very inexpensive to make. Kids can help with adult supervision and wearing latex gloves. What is nice is how versatile this project is. You can buy stepping stone molds, but you can also use so many things that you already have at home to make one that is just the size and shape that you want.

We used old 9 x 13 cake pans. Other people on family crafts at used foil pans, pizza boxes, flower pot bottoms, the possibilities are endless. We used garden finds to decorate our stones, but you can decorate with glass stones, beads, paint, hand prints, whatever you would like.

We used a 60 lb bag of quick-kret (it only cost a couple of dollars). Wearing latex gloves, we poured the bag into a 5 gallon bucket to make it more manageable. Then we scooped out smaller amounts and mixed it in a smaller bucket. A 60 lb bag made 4 - 9 x 13 stepping stones. We added water and stirred to make a concrete that was like a thick cake batter. We lined the pans with plastic wrap, filled them with the concrete and then gently tapped them on the ground to get the air bubbles out. Using paper towels we blotted some of the excess water. Then we collected leaves and flowers and pressed them into the concrete. We let them sit for a few hours and then pulled the leaves and flowers out and let the stone finish drying. After 3 days (DO NOT REMOVE IT SOONER) we took the stone out of the pan and let it finish drying for another week before putting it in the ground.

Check out family crafts at to see other stepping stone ideas, supply lists, tips and gallery.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Thank You!

We just wanted to take a moment to thank both Theta Mom and Xenia! Both of these fellow blogging moms gave us this great award:
Since we are new to the blogging world, this means a lot to us! Thank you again ladies! We think you both are pretty fabulous, too!!
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Monday, August 10, 2009

Pie Pops

Oh Bakerella...How you tempt us! And this time, we succumbed to the temptation. We saw her tutorial for making Pie Pops - so cute! Her instructions and pictures were great and really easy to follow (so we've chosen not to include our own - just use hers!). It was a great project to do with the kids, who loved both making and eating these treats!

What made this so easy and fun for everyone was that she recommended using store-bought pie crust and pie filling. Of course, we chose cherry! But because this is so versitile, we're also toying with the idea of making a spinach and feta filling for a savory twist. We can't wait to make these again!
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Friday, August 7, 2009

Fabric-Covered Bookmarks

Sometimes all it takes is a little pretty detail to brighten up your day. We found these lovely bookmarks on How About Orange and had to make some for ourselves. While the original tutorial is great, we made a change or two based on our own experience with making them.

What you need:
  • small pieces of card stock (we used index cards, but thought that reusing a cereal or other box would be a great way to recycle!)
  • Fabric scraps
  • Glue (the original tutorial calls for rubber cement, but our fabric wouldn't stick, so we used regular school glue)
  • hole-punch
  • ribbon
Put a layer of glue onto the cardboard in an area larger than the size you want for your bookmark. Them lay your fabric onto the glued surface and smooth it out. Do the same on the other side. Let it dry, then cut your bookmark out to the size you want. Finally use your hole punch to put a hold at the top of the bookmark and tie your ribbon on. Now find a good book and enjoy!
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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Alpha Bags!

As the mothers of preschoolers, we are always looking for fun ways to teach them things. One lesson that can be particularly tricky for parents is the alphabet. We found this cute idea from Lil Blue Boo for making alphabet bean bags. Her tutorial is super-easy to follow and even includes printable stencils! We figured it would be a fun way to help our kids with letter recognition. And once we told our little guys we were going to make bean bags, they were sooo excited, making them eager to play...and learn!!

The only changes we made were that we used our own stencils, as well as made our bags a little smaller.
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